Take a look at our programs

We are currently involved in a number of research programs. We also have a number in the planning stage, and have proposals either now in consideration or being prepared for submission. We are also beginning to design projects with some of our Associates’ in other countries. We will use this page to keep a record of some of our programs.

Masters of Education Degree (Imaginative Education)

This MEd program is based on two aspects of the Imaginative Education Research Group’s (IERG) work. The first involves coming to understand how students’ imaginations develop during their school years.  The second aspect involves exploring ways to enable teachers routinely to engage students’ imaginations in better learning the material of the curriculum in everyday practice.  It seeks to accomplish this by:

1) Exploring some alternative and innovative ideas about education;

2) Engaging teachers in the active reworking of subject matter so as to capture learners’ imaginations;

3) Working with teachers to plan, implement and evaluate their use of these innovative ideas in practice.

The faculty members teaching in the program are all members of the IERG group.  They are committed to working with teachers in the study of their practice and in collaborating with them in bringing about more imaginative learning situations.

Learning in Depth

“Learning in Depth” is a simple though radical innovation in curriculum and instruction designed to ensure that all students become experts about something during their school years. Each child is given a particular topic to learn about through her or his whole school career, in addition to the usual curriculum, and builds a personal portfolio on the topic. To the surprise of many, children usually take to the program with great enthusiasm, and within a few months LiD begins to transform their experience as learners. The program usually takes about an hour a week, with the students working outside school time increasingly.

The LiD project is headed up by Kieran Egan.

Whole School Projects

The idea is that each school will take on a particular topic to study for three years. The whole school will be involved in the study. The topics might involve local phenomena―such as “plants and animals of the desert” if the school is in Alamogordo, New Mexico; “sheep farming” if it is in Walworth, New Zealand; “water resources” if it is in West Vancouver, Canada; “the Columbia River Gorge” if it is near Portland, Oregon; “the castle” if it is in Ludlow, England, or “the Yarra River” if it is in Melbourne, Australia, etc. Alternatively, it could involve quite distant things―such topics as “the Solar System”, or “desertification and attempts to combat it,” “ocean life,” “migrating animals,” and so on.

All students and all classes will be involved. The rest of the curriculum will continue much as it is, but some time will be given over during which the school as a whole builds up its knowledge of the chosen topic, directed towards a large-scale final product―to which everyone contributes, and in which everyone can take pride. While the WSP is distinct from, and is in addition to, the regular curriculum, the “whole school project” can help achieve many of the year’s curriculum objectives in mathematics, science, art, history, and so on. Any teacher can choose to incorporated their curriculum aims into the project study, even when those aims also include meeting externally mandated achievement levels.

This project is currently undergoing its first implementations, and research will follow these.

This program is headed up by Kieran Egan.

Ecological Education

There are currently two research initiatives connecting Imaginative Education and ecological education. One initiative grows from the work of Gillian Judson, as initially described in her book  A New Approach to Ecological Education. Imaginative Ecological Education, or IEE, is a cognitive-tools approach to teaching designed for all educators interested in making their practice more imaginative and ecological.

Gillian Judson heads up the IEE program.

A second initiative involves a whole new conception of what education could look like if one were to take ecological ideas seriously. It is funded in part by a $1-million grant from the Community-University Research Alliance of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project aims to create, from the ground up, an educational program that is place-based, imaginative and ecological.

Sean Blenkinsop heads up the Eco-school project.

Imaginative Education Research Network (IRNIE)

The International Research Network on Imaginative Education (IRNIE) is a collaborative project among the IERG and national and international partners. IRNIE’s mission is to generate leading research in education by developing new approaches to teaching and learning by fostering and sharing theoretical frameworks, research methods, and educational materials. IRNIE brings together established and new researchers from across Canada and internationally who have come to see imagination as central in some way to their research agenda.

Thomas Nielsen and Bob Fitzgerald are heading up the IRNIE program.